Paris Motor Show - Toyota Gazoo Racing Showcases Yaris WRC 2017

Yaris WRC Test Car

At the Paris Motor Show, Toyota announced it has reached an agreement with Microsoft to collaborate in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) series. As part of the agreement, Microsoft will serve as a “technology partner” for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC rally team.

Toyota Yaris WRC, Tommi Makinen
Motorsports offer an important way to convey the excitement of driving, and are at the heart of Toyota’s efforts to foster a greater following of car fans and enthusiasts. Conducting these activities under the umbrella of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing allows Toyota to develop its people and improve its products, thereby contributing to the creation of “ever-better cars”. Under the leadership of Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen, Toyota is developing a rally vehicle scheduled to begin competing in 2017.

Using Microsoft technology, Toyota wants to maximize its competitiveness in WRC, whilst ensuring that learnings from the race course can be used to achieve the company’s vision of designing and manufacturing “ever-better cars”.

Toyota Yaris WRC
Microsoft will support TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in three key areas:

Development of a data analysis platform to gather, visualize and analyse various data related to driving which will be utilised in race activities.
Creation of a team information-sharing system to allow team members to collaborate and share various materials such as images and videos efficiently and effectively using a cloud service.
Enhancement of communication with fans through providing services utilizing the cloud and using Microsoft’s display devices to provide them with a front-row motorsports experience.
Today’s announcement builds on the existing partnership between Toyota and Microsoft. Most recently, the two companies collaborated on the establishment of Toyota Connected, a new user experience and product-development company aimed at expanding, collecting and analysing large amounts of vehicle data to help further improve quality, safety and the driving and ownership experience for Toyota customers.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said: “I believe that, like Toyota, Microsoft aims to enrich society in meaningful ways. Based on the on-going partnership, we aim to further develop our people and enhance our cars through the use of IT in motorsports to promote ‘ever-better cars’.”

Toyota Yaris WRC
Toyota understands the important role that information technology must play in order to further accelerate the development of the automotive industry. Gathering valuable data will help lay the foundation for the future of sustainable mobility. This, in turn, will help create a society in which everyone can live at ease, safely and freely. Another important contributor to a safer automotive future is the Toyota Research Institute1 (TRI), which is focused on artificial intelligence for automobiles, robotics and scientific discovery. TRI is bringing to life Toyota’s vision of autonomous driving, which follows a double approach. The first type of application is ‘Chauffeur Mode’, where the car is fully autonomous. It has the potential to offer mobility to those who would not otherwise have it, such as older people and those with special needs. In order to accomplish this safely, it isestimated that some 14.2 billion kilometres2 of testing, including simulation, are required. Microsoft is an important partner in the test-mile accumulation, since a lot of the work can be done through multi-agent simulation.

The second application of autonomous driving that Toyota is pursuing is the ‘Guardian Mode’ or high-level driver assist. This technology is a further evolution of current safety mechanisms such as Toyota Safety Sense, and is designed to support the driver as necessary, even taking over the car in certain circumstances. The knowledge that they have this safety net, will enable customers to enjoy their drive to the fullest.

The Toyota Research Institute, Toyota Connected and Microsoft are united in their efforts to use cutting edge technology to establish safer, cleaner and more convenient mobility.


Toyota Yaris WRC
The Yaris WRC Test Car that was driven on the Paris Motor Show stage by 4-time WRC champion Tommi Mäkinen didn’t only reveal Microsoft as the technology partner for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team. In addition to Michelin, who is the team tyre supplier, the car also carried the logos of the DMG MORI and Panasonic Corporation, two companies that relate to Toyota’s vision on motorsports, and that have partnered with Toyota for its 2017 WRC endeavour.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC project is supported by following partners;

The new regulations for the upcoming season of 2017 is definitely going to be demanding to all the drivers, manufacturers and very exciting for the followers & fans!
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Thierry Neuville seals his seat for WRC 2017 with Hyundai WRT

2017 WRC Hyundai i20 rally car
Thierry Neuville seals his seat for the upcoming season of WRC with Hyundai i20WRC. Well that was fast back to back announcements, and as speculated earlier, he retains his seat with Hyundai for the next season too. Hyundai Motorsport officially confirmed within a few hours after Citroen Racing's announcement of Craig Breen & Stephane Lefebvre's signing up for the next two years.

Hyundai i20 WRC at Paris Motorshow
Hyundai i20 WRC 2017 car during a test
Neuville was in negotiations with Citroen & Toyota for a seat in the seasons to come, however he concluded with Hyundai for the next two years. "I'm delighted to extend my contract with Hyundai Motorsport for two more years," said Neuville.

"Although, I had alternative options available, it seemed the most logical decision to keep up the great momentum we have within this team.

The 2017 season will be a new era for the WRC with the revised regulations.

Thierry Neuville, speaking to the media.
We have shared very special moments together since the team's debut in WRC. Our first win together in Germany [in 2014] was one of my career highlights.

With a new car next year, and even more ambitious targets, I am excited by what this next chapter will bring.", says the young Belgian.

With this latest announcements made, M-Sport and Toyota are the other two teams left to make their announcements for their drivers line-up.
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Kris Meeke, Craig Breen & Stephane Lefebvre for Citroen WRT 2017

Craig Breen, Kris Meeke & Stephane Lefebvre, the three chosen by Citroen Racing for driving Citroen C3 WRC in 2017

Citroen C3 WRC
Citroen Racing, formerly Citroen World Rally Team, announced their driver line up for the newly developed Citroen C3 WRC for the upcoming season.

Craig Breen & Yves Matton
Irishman Craig Breen with co-driver Scott Martin & Frenchmen Stephane Lefebvre and his co-driver Gabin Moreau will be joining the Citroen squad with their already confirmed no.1 driver Kris Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle.

Stephane Lefebvre, with his team-mate
Citroen Racing Director, Yves Matton confirmed the news short while ago in social media portals. He said, "We believe in the potential of Craig_Breen & Stephane Lefebvre. They have natural talent, motivation and work ethic to win rallies."

Thierry Neuville
With this announcement, it is still unclear where Thierry Neuville will land in a WRC seat for the upcoming exciting season of more powerful and agile cars. His past performance, ever since his association with Hyundai World Rally Team has raised doubts about his future. However, his lately wins in the current season team, could be justified to retain his seat with Hyundai, or if M-Sport or Toyota is willing to come up with some good proposition for the Belgian national.

Citroen C3 WRC Concept
Volkswagen are in mood to change their drivers, unless the drivers themselves choose to. Hyundai, M-Sport & Toyota Gazoo Racing are yet to confirm their driver-lineup and is expected soon in the coming few days, or maybe even a few hours from now.

For that all we can do is wait for their official announcements, and also keep an ear out for the possible news-leak which could get loose in advance!
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WRC, Tour de Corse Victory for Ogier, 4th Title Run!

Julien Ingrassia & Sebastien Ogier on top of their VW Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier is the winner of the 2016 edition of Tour de Corse, Corsica. The rally being he 11th round in the championship, this year's Rallye de France had all the elements of what the rally is, minus the previous year's crazy floods. The rally had mild showers during the start, and was relatively dry on the rest of the event. Ogier was hungry for it, and he got one for himself! A first Corsica victory for him.

Sebastien Ogier smiling!
Without a complaint, Ogier was the first on the road, opening the stages and had all the advantages of a proper sealed surface rally to his benefit. He continued to dominate the entire rally, flawlessly, and the outcome was obviously a grand victory.

Keeping the cool, managing the car, tires, opponents on the forefront is what it takes to be a true champion, which he certainly has in abundance. No doubt! Mathematically he had a fair chance to seal the 2016 driver's championship, if he had all the maximum points in his favour.

Kris Meeke, Craig Breen & DS3's
Kris Meeke, was another strong contender and was in his driving elements the best, until he too caught up an unexpected puncture and his threat to the champion, vanished in thin air with it. One wrong pace note call later in the day, that was all that it took him to crash his Citroen DS3 WRC knocking off a wheel and spent the rest of the day being a spectator than a competitor! Fellow Brit Craig Breen displayed his potential, with a strong overall 5th finish.

Jari-Matti Latvala, last year's winner was struggling during the first few stages of the event, and his chances on the podium was getting thinner with every passing stage. His biggest worry was not finding the best feeling and the much needed rhythm to settle in his winning groove. However it never came calling this event and he had to settle for 4th overall at the end!

Mikkelsen executing hairpin bend
Andreas Mikkelsen, was competitive from the beginning, seems like he had his goals set and finished on the podium, on the third step,i.e.,! A good show by the young Norwegian, never misses to awe his fans. Well almost!

Thierry Neuville interviewed
Thierry Neuville's performance was splendid, considering his outcome with Hyundai since the beginning of their union. He drove in a real competitive spirit, and the result speaks for itself. The first few stages left the Hyundai drivers complaining of some under-steering issues, Neuville was enjoying the rest of them, in a good way! Dani Sordo & Hayden Paddon never caught up and were somewhat left struggling throughout the rally one thing or the other.

Mads Ostberg celebrating 100th WRC
Tour de Corse was also Mads Ostberg's centenary WRC event for the Norwegian, and with what he said 'a change of style in driving' didn't yield any surprising outcome, however he didn't forget to mention that it could get him there someday soon! Eric Camilli's performance was not hair-rising, but not bad, was neither for M-Sport.

So the final result was Andreas finished second runner up, Thierry in the second place, and Sebastien Ogier winning it outright.

Winners champagne on podium, Tour de Corse, Ogier, Ingrassia, Neuville, Gilsoul, Mikkelsen & Jaeger, with officials!

As mentioned earlier, Ogier did have a chance to win the championship along with the rally, but for that he had to win all the extra bonus points in the rally's Power-stage, but he opted to "finish the rally the first, to finish first" and just got one for third place power-stage finish! He will have to wait till the next rally to get that required "two" points to bag the 4th title, and there is little chance in failing it, with three more rallies in the season.

WRC 2 :

Elfyn Evans was the leader from the word "Go"! He drove flawlessly throughout the entire course of the rally and showed what it takes to win.

Elfyn Evans negotiating a hairpin turn in his MSport Ford Fiesta R5, at Tour de Corse

Czech's Jan Kopecky was pushing hard behind him, had to settle for second, while Frenchman Yoann Bonato settled for the third spot on the step!

WRC 3 :

Laurent Pellier won the category followed by , Yohan Rossel in second , and Martin Koci in third place.

Yohan Rossel over a bridge over railway at Tour de Corse, Rally de France 2016.

Well that's it from this edition of #TourdeCorse folks! Next stop #RallyRACC Catalunya, Rally de Espana. See you there!
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Craig Breen Deserves Full Time WRC Seat - Yves Matton

Citroen WRC team boss Yves Matton said that after Craig Breen's solid performance in Rally Finland, he deserves full time WRC drive next season. He also mentioned that, he cannot guarantee that he will drive for Citroen next year. Only in his third WRC start with PH-Sport, Breen achieved his career best result in Finland last weekend.

Breen has been sharing his WRC seat with Stephane Lefebvre this year, alongside Kris Meeke who has already confirmed for 2017. Although Matton praised the Irish driver, he said he was just among ten other drivers shortlisted by Citroen. He said, "I expected him to be fast after what he showed in Poland, but what I was also pleased with is the consistency he showed. Next year, there will be 15 seats [in factory World Rally Cars]. Before the start of this year there were not 15 drivers at the right level. He can be one of the 15. He can expect to be in one of those cars. But for us, I didn't make any decision. The drivers are happy to wait. By the end of the month, I want to have the list of 10 down to four or five. There is a lot to think about and the first thing I have to decide on is the strategy for next year. When I know that then I can try to put the drivers in there."

Craig Breen
Commenting on this Craig Breen said he was 'honoured and pleased' with Matton's words and hoped he would not have to look anywhere else for WRC drive. He said, "I just really want to stay where I am. I absolutely love where I am. I know it's a private team this season, but I love working with the factory on the new car - everything fits me like a glove now."

Currently only six drivers have confirmed their 2017 WRC seat. Volkswagen have opted for the unchanged team of Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. Citroen already signed up Kris Meeke. Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon has extended his contract with Hyundai. Eric Camilli has a long term partnership with M-Sport. That means along with Breen and Lefebvre, M-Sport driver Mads Ostberg, Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Kevin Abbring are all open to negotiation. Ott Tanak may also get a factory seat after his recent form. 

Leading WRC 2 drivers Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi, Pontus Tidemand and Teemu Suninen are all eyeing to enter the top tier of rallying. Juho Hanninen has been confirmed to continue with Toyota for 2017 season.

For more news on happenings in the world of rally, subscribe to us on bottom of the page. Until then, Happy Rallying!

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Toyota On The Verge Of Announcing Its Driver Lineup

Toyota WRC team boss Tommi Makinen has revealed his driver 'Options' for 2017 WRC season. Toyota has eyed on Ott Tanak and leading WRC 2 drivers for the seat in Toyota WRC team. The decision on the driver lineup is said to be made after conclusion of Rally Germany later this month, after Makinen talks with the Toyota factory in Japan.

DMACK WRC team driver Ott Tanak has impressed everybody by his recent pace. Makinen;s main target is the Estonian driver. Tanak's former M-Sport team-mate now WRC 2 championship leader Elfyn Evans is Makine's next priority. Also Teemu Suninen and factory Skoda WRC 2 drivers Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand are also on Makinen's list.

Speaking about this Makinen said, "I can tell you the names: there is Elfyn, there's Ott Tanak, Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and the young comer is Pontus Tidemand. The plan is not decided yet, we will discuss it with Japan. The question for the drivers is how we see the world: are we looking to 2017 or are we looking to the future? This is the area we will discuss very carefully with Japan and make a decision together."

Former Hyundai driver Juho Hanninen has been an integral part of Toyota in developing the new Yaris WRC. He is likely to be with the team. Makinen further added, "For learning and analysing every single rally, Juho would be good. He knows the car technically very well, he has done the whole test programme and that could help us be more ready for 2018."

Mikko Hirvonen will be testing the Yaris WRC this week. Makinen also clarified that Hirvonen will not be competing in WRC, who is now focused on cross-country events. Toyota will be starting the season with two cars and then will be adding another mid-season. On asked about this he said, "The infrastructure is there to run a three-car team, but we know it's pretty big work to build and run three cars from the start. I say it's easier to start with two and bring the third car after a couple of rallies." He also said that 2017 will be developing season for Toyota and their not expecting strong results. "The 2017 season is the year first to learn and analyse the rallies. I would like to say we would be ready to fight and to win in 2018. he target for next year? Of course we'd like to see the podium very soon." said Makinen.

For more news on happenings in the world of rally, subscribe to us on bottom of the page. Until then, Happy Rallying!
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M-Sport Begins Testing 2017 Fiesta WRC Prototype

M-Sport has started testing its 2017 WRC machine. Currently running the prototype version of Fiesta WRC, the new machine is running on 2017 engine and mechanical parts such as suspension, drivetrain and transmission. The new aero upgrades will follow in the upcoming tests. On the exterior the only change that can be noticed is, mock-up rear diffuser to replicate the new chassis.

M-Sport team principal Malcom Wilson himself was behind the wheel for the first test at M-Sports's Greystroke forest facility. After the tests Wilson said, "I'm very, very excited by what I found with the car. I've tended to drive most of our new cars, just to get a feeling for what they're doing. From that test, I would know if there was something wrong and there's nobody who can put more pressure on the guys to put it right."

The actual 2017 car's debut is said to be in September for Europe tests. Ford is yet to confirm the launch date of the road going version of the car on which the 2017 machine is based. Wilson's son Matthew Wilson will be testing the car for four days a week, running for three weeks. 

Malcom Wilson further said, "It's going to be a very expensive car [to develop and build], but it's beautiful. There's so much workmanship in it, it looks absolutely lovely. The guys have taken a really big step with this car. There's nothing wrong with the current car, but there have been areas to improve on and we've done that and more with this one. We've been doing some endurance running in Greystoke, but we're also doing set-up work while also building a bank of data."

Fiesta is the last out of five 2017 WRC machines to hit the rally stages. VW has already been testing the Polo WRC since a year, Citroen has begun its C3 development from April. Also Toyota Yaris WRC has been recently tested. Hyundai is also testing the three door mule car.

For more news on happenings in the world of rally, subscribe to us on bottom of the page. Until then, Happy Rallying!

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Volkswagen Would Back Indian WRC Round- Jost Capito

Volkswagen WRC team boss Jost Capito said that, the German car maker will support the bid to host a WRC round in India. He says having a WRC round in India, which has a vast automobile market will only do good for the sport. Capito will be quitting the German WRC squad and join McLaren F1 Team this year.

Speaking to Press Trust of India, Capito said, "India is one of the upcoming and emergent markets and it’s really valid to have rallies in important markets and emergent markets. We would be very supportive of having a rally in India. That’s for sure. We work with Volkswagen India, we support them in development of cars. They have a rally program. We are in regular contact with VW Motorsport India to support them and also to get program approved."

During the FIA president Jean Todt's visit to India, he stated that India has the potential to host a international rally. Currently India will be hosting the final round of Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Rally Of India in Chikmagalur.

When asked about the lack of Indian drivers in the top tier of rallying and would VW give opportunity to one, Capito said they don't have a drivers programme. He further added, "It is difficult for us because we only have the WRC programme. The drivers have to come through [on their own]. We are in contact with VW India. They see and give us information what the drivers are [doing], so as soon as somebody come through, of course will get the chance. As manufacturers we have three cars and we have to take three best. We have to get best possible drivers.You have to be in position to win rallies, otherwise we can’t win the championships."

For many years Gaurav Gill was said to be making it to WRC, but lack of budget is barring him from doing so. Pune based, Sanjay Takale, who is competing in APRC, is also planning to make it to WRC in 2017. Kolkata driver Amittrajit Ghosh, who recently competed in BRC has also eyed a WRC or ERC programme in near future.

For more news on happenings in the world of rally, subscribe to us on bottom of the page. Until then, Happy Rallying!
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Latvala Was Too Cautious In Finland

Volkswagen WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala said that he was too cautious and lacked fighting spirit to go for the victory in his home rally. As Kris Meeke barred him from what would have been his third Rally Finland victory in a row. Latvala has won his home rally in 2010 and 2014-2015 as well, but this time he was just satisfied with the runner-up spot.

Latvala made a mistake and damaged his tyre and dropped to fifth in fourth stage of the rally. but another reason for his lack of pace was after Sebastien Ogier's crash it was all up to him to score for the German squad. Latvala said, "Somehow I didn't have the same fighting spirit that I have had in the last two years. In the beginning on Friday I had it but then I made a mistake quite early on and I lost 15 seconds. I tried and tried but then I think things changed on Friday evening when Sebastien Ogier went off. It put me in a bit of a different position. After that it was difficult to find that last bit for the driving, I was maybe a bit too much on the safe side."

Latvala also had the pressure of manufactures standings, as Citroen is only competing partially. So it was important to bring the car home safely without any hassles. Latvala further said, "Because the situation is that Citroen is not committed to the World Rally Championship, when I climbed up to second position I was actually getting the first manufacturer points and the team really needs these points. Also, in the drivers' championship I was calculating that now we can also catch Ogier so I can't afford to do a mistake. Having this in my head was maybe making me a little bit too much on the safe side on Saturday and then also on Sunday."

Latvala is currently third in the drivers championship after Rally Finland, but still trails by 56 points to Ogier. In manufacturers championship VW leads by 52 points over Hyundai. Kris Meeke stamped his authority on the rally after he took 13 seconds from Latvala in the legendary Ouninpohja stage. Speaking about that Latvala said, "On Saturday morning after the first time on Ouninpohja we realised there was no chance anymore to catch Kris. Kris and [co-driver] Paul [Nagle] did a superb drive, they really, really deserve it."

For more news on happenings in the world of rally, subscribe to us on bottom of the page. Until then, Happy Rallying!

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